Whiplash Review

I wish I saw this film before I made my top 10 of 2014. This film would have definitely topped my list. This film just completely took my breath away, unlike any other film has been able to do all year. This is a film that tackles a relatively simple premise, but adds many layers to both the premise and its’ characters. I found myself in a constant debate about characters and their morals which is always the sign of a great film. A film that allows the audience to think for themselves achieves something remarkable, and that is the case with Whiplash.
Not My Tempo
I am going to get this right out of the way, both Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are phenomenal in this film. They completely embody their roles, and because of their intense acting I felt constantly on edge. When I was younger I played piano, and attended a school where I kept perfecting my skills. While none of the teachers were remotely as intense as J.K. Simmons, I understand what Teller’s character underwent. Perhaps that is why I felt more connected to the film, but regardless, this is a fine piece of cinema. Simmons not only deserves the nomination for best actor, but he deserves the award. He frightened me, and yet I found myself agreeing with him, and then disagreeing. His character toyed with my emotions with such ease, and really hooked me into the film. With all this talk of J.K. Simmons I do not want to undersell Miles Tellers’ performance. He was equally fantastic, just in a different way. He is the protagonist, but he is not always likable. His motivations are known, but the way he pursues his dream is where I found myself often frustrated. Not because I thought his character was bad, but because I understand why he does what he dos and I want him to do it another way. I was connected to his character, and even stopped seeing him as a simple character. To me, the two of them (Teller and Simmons) gave such raw and real performances that they passed the barrier between fiction and real life.
No Two Words More Harmful Than ‘Good Job’
While the stars are certainly one of the best aspects of the film, it does not end there. The cinematography, editing, sound design, and writing are all top notch. I was truly not disappointed with any aspect of this film. The story kept progressing and taking twists and turns along the way. The film was also beautifully shot and edited. Especially the last 20 or so minutes. I love the quick cuts that they used, they felt like a good compliment to the quick pace of the drumming. As if the film itself were moving as fast as Miles Teller’s drumming. Not only that, but the music was pretty catchy. I am not a huge fan of jazz, I do not mind it, but I never really got into it. This film made me interested in listening to more jazz music, and any film that gets me interested in something that extends beyond the film has left a significant impression.
Closing Remarks
No amount of words will express my feelings towards this film. I absolutely loved it and I look forward to seeing it many more times. I gave The Lego Movie a 10/10 last year, but if any film deserved it, this one does. While I have been blown away by this film, it seems like others have not. Whiplash is only nominated for one Golden Globe while St. Vincent is nominated for two. I do not like when deserving films do not get the recognition they deserve, and I hope come Oscar season that the Academy will give this film (at least) the nominations it deserves. Please go and see this film, you will not regret it.
Whiplash

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